How Much Do Portable Air Conditioners Cost?

Air conditioners can be a life saver in the dead heat of summer, especially if you are in one of those areas that have to deal with extreme heat. A lot of folks end up using their traditional central air conditioning system. These units are found in most newer homes and provide every room in your home with a nice cool environment.

The question though is what do you do if your home or apartment doesn’t come with a central air conditioner? Or, if your central system breaks down and you can’t afford to purchase a new one? Sometimes these repairs can be thousands of dollars. Not a lot of folks can afford to drop that kind of money on a whim.

There are a few options you can do to get out of this situation, but in this article we’re going to look at one viable option: Portable Air Conditioners. These portable units accomplish two things. Firstly, they can cool your room or rooms depending on what sized unit you purchase. Second, they provide a much cheaper alternative to replacing a central air conditioner.

How much savings can you expect? How much do these portable units run? Let’s take a look.


First thing’s first, before you purchase or even look at the cost of a portable unit you first need to understand what size unit that you need. If you have already started looking at different products then you may have noticed that each product has what’s called a BTU rating.

BTUs, or British Thermal Units, are the traditional measurement of heat. The more BTUs your air conditioner has the more power it has. Don’t fall into the trap though that bigger is always better. It is always best to find the right sized unit for your needs. If you end up purchasing a product that is much too large for your desired cooling area then you are going to run into unneeded higher energy bills as well as potential hot and cold spots throughout your room due to humidification issues. On the flip side of that, if you purchase a product that is much too small for your room then the system will be running constantly causing you more energy cost at the end of the month. Along with that, you will never truly reach your desired temperature, or if you do, it won’t stay there for long.

In order to find that perfect sized unit you need to figure out how many square feet that you are going to be cooling. This is done rather easily just by measuring the width and length of your room. When you have those numbers you simply multiply them together to get your square footage. Now, there are always considerations that need to be taken into account such as closet space, vaulted ceilings, if the unit will be near the kitchen, etc. Use your best judgement here and if you feel you need to go up a few thousand BTUs then do it.

When you have your square footage you can then calculate the needed BTUs. Most people use the rule of thumb of thirty BTUs per square footage. So, if you have a three-hundred square foot room you will need a nine-thousand BTU system. (300 SF * 30 BTU = 9,000)


Ok, so we now know what sized air conditioner to look at. Now it is time to understand the cost of portable air conditioners. What can you expect when purchasing? Well folks, like with anything, it all depends on what you want. Sure, if a larger BTU system is going to cost a lot more then a smaller one, that’s a given. Another factor though is if you want the extra bells and whistles with your air conditioner or if you are satisfied with the bare minimum. Remember, that even a bare minimum unit will still cool your room.

Let’s take a look at the very bare minimum unit. The absolute smallest sized portable unit comes in at eight-thousand BTUs. That’s enough to cool a typical bedroom between one-hundred and fifty to two-hundred square feet. Let’s also imagine that you do not care about all of the features and options that some of the more expensive options have. We’re just going bare bones here. In this scenario you are going to end up spending between two-hundred and three-hundred dollars.

If we now move a step up and look at a more in between product we can begin to see the price climb. Let’s look at a now ten-thousand BTU product. This sized system can cool rooms up to four-hundred and fifty square feet. That’s a large sized master bedroom/bathroom, a living room, or a room above a garage. We’ll include some features in this section, but nothing too crazy. These products can range in price from three-hundred to four-hundred. Here at RefrigerantHQ we recommend the following Honeywell’s MO10CESWK Portable Air Conditioner.

Lastly, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention Whynter’s ARC-14S unit. This product comes in at fourteen-thousand BTUs and has the power to cool a room as large as five-hundred square feet. Along with that you get a host of other features such as digital display, remote control, programmable timer, and full thermostat ranging from sixty-one degrees up to eighty-nine degrees. This product can be expected to range between three-hundred and fifty upwards to four-hundred and fifty dollars.  ()Please note that prices can change at anytime.)


Well folks, I hope that this article was able to answer your question or at least shed some light on the topic for you and point you in the right direction. If you still have questions on Portable Air Conditioners consider checking out all of our various articles on the topic.